The energy that emanates from FLOW seems to get greater each year it takes place on West Broadway in North Minneapolis.
The annual art crawl originally started out as a small, but burgeoning showcase of Northside creatives, initiated by the Northside Achievement Zone. Now 10 years later and tipping the scale at over 200 featured visual and performing artists this summer, FLOW continues to grow in community attendance and participation each year since its 2006 debut. As an homage to the 10 year anniversary of FLOW, we’re sharing ten highlights from the 3-days of dynamic artistic exchange and why we think it was the best yet, including some of the special moments from JXTA.
Traditional Hmong performance art
The Koom Siab Block Party, presented by Asian Media Access, showcased Iny Asian Dance Theater‘s dance drama “Longing for Qeej.” On Plymouth Ave, the street became the stage for bright flashes of public Contemporary dance and Hip-Hop performances. Neighbors and residents got a front row seat to waves of music and dance outside the doors of their home.
JXTA VALT studio’s make-your-own masterpiece workshop
Visitors to the VALT studio participated in a hands-on drawing lesson centered on two foundational drawing techniques all VALTers learn. Instructors Drew and Hawwa conducted the workshop in 1108 space for charcoal self-portrait drawings and Notan paper cut-outs, engaging resident artists from all spectrums and levels.
Ice cream cones with rainbow sprinkles
Hands down, Emerge provided the best way to cool down on Emerson avenue, with youth employees scooping out ice cream cones and cups for $1 a pop. The non-profit continues to amp up their efforts to support youth and adults seeking employment – in 2014, 120 young people were placed in jobs.
Northside artists show and tell
The space at Homewood Studios was opened up by director George Roberts in an effort to host a conversation between the FLOW postcard artists. The circle formed by the artists and community members heard the artists’ feedback on how their artistic philosophy has been shaped and continues to shift based on their surroundings, experiences and passion.
We usually connote the barbershop as being that focal point where men can spark up animated conversations and catch up on the latest gossip news in the community while getting a line-up. What was cool to learn and see at World Class Barbers on Broadway Avenue is that it is woman-owned and featured local artists with work that showcased Black beauty in all of it’s glorious, dual-gendered, multifacetedness. Plus, we felt right at home swiveling in those seats.
Speaking up on equity in the Twin Cities
As participants of the Creative CityMaking: New Artist-City Collaborations, artists D.A. Bullock and Ariah Fine set up a podium, recorder and set the camera to record. They asked passersby to talk about issues related to equity and place in the Twin Cities, issues that affect each individual personally on a community level. The voices highlighted will feed into larger work and strategy around the Blueprint for Equitable Engagement project.
Pop-up boutiques with photos and musical vibes
We didn’t catch the fashion show, but we did grab some great deals on cute dresses and scarves from the Romantic Bohemian at the NEON pop-up boutique. Their newly acquired space, previously the Hennepin County West Broadway office, was set up for independent sellers, craftsmen and women, and designers for all things fashion and beauty.
On the spot screen-printed take-home posters from the Welukea Group artist collective
“The Welukea Group does not exclusively aim to draw attention to the vacant and unused spaces along the Broadway business district in North Minneapolis, but additively aspires to interrupt the predetermined narratives that currently surround these spaces.” Enough said, but we’ll add that the JXTA Public Art Studio’s newest exhibit made waves by inspiring critical thought and discourse on social dynamics and taboo topics through photography, artifact and aerosol art.
Ballet and Contemporary dance mash-upping
The newly updated Les Jolies Petites School of Dance made real the phrase, “dance is life.” The studio teemed with young people, parents and friends who took part in group dance and basic ballet demos. Directors Danyale Potts and Dr. Sharon Cook bring their experience ranging from training in ballet, modern and African dance and instruction from the world-renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Their goal? That “people from all walks of life would be blessed by what they see, feel and hear.”
Elder Naima Richmond
If you haven’t met Naima yet, you’re going to need to – and soon. Set up in the Plymouth Ave Art Studio for the art crawl, this poet, author and writer’s array of children books and illustrations are as humble and enigmatic as her smile and aura. Her favorite work, “Beautiful Brown Snowlady,” is a book that you should add to your library. Why? According to Richmond, “Because everyone needs to read the book about the first and only brown snowlady.” Simple, plain and real.